SPECIAL PUFF CHRISSY TEAM-UP: Long Box Tuesday VS Shelf Porn (Part 6)

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Graphic Novel Shelf

Here is a special Long Box Tuesday edition of Shelf Porn, where I’ll be looking at some more of the graphic novels in my library. In part 1 of Puff Chrissy’s Shelf Porn, I looked at the shelf above this one with more graphic novels.

Starting from the left…

For the longest time when I was younger, the Longmeadow editions of The Joker: Stacked Deck and The Frank Miller Collection were my most prized possessions. I loved these books for the stories inside, but having them on my shelf made me feel sophisticated and important (hey! I was 15!). Plus, they were good books to pull out when people argued about whether comic books were legitimate, and these editions certainly made the stories look serious. Batman Year One, which shows up individually later on the shelf, is still one of my favorite Batman stories, especially for its focus on Jim Gordon, who I have an unhealthy man crush on, as discussed before.

Next up are Alan Moore’s ABC books:  The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Top Ten, Promethea and Tom Strong. All of them being solid reading, with a special emphasis on Top Ten. Could that series possibly be any better?

A double shot of Alex Ross with Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come and Kurt Busiek’s Marvels. Both of them have aged fairly well, all things considered. I like that Ross got to work on love letters to both Marvel and DC and roughly the same time, and it was a wonderful way to be introduced to his art.

I remember waiting forever for Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison. It was the first hardcover graphic novel I pre-ordered. And I remember this book not being a thousand miles within what I was expecting it to be. I’ve come to appreciate the book over the years, but it was a little too heavy for my young brain to handle.

Jeff Loeb continues to get a lot of hate online, and while I don’t always agree with his writing choices, the man produced the amazing Superman for all Seasons with the phenomenal Tim Sale. I love this interpretation of Clark Kent, and the scene where he’s standing outside with his father is just perfect.

All of Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan comes next. Paired with Darick Robertson, Ellis created a world that’s both frightening and familiar and created one of the most iconic characters in comics in the last decade. For more thoughts on this book, check out what I wrote before.

Ellis’ Come in Alone is a nice time capsule of his thoughts on comics at the turn of the century. Worth reading.

When people talk about crossovers in monthlies, one of the best examples of this was the No Man’s Land story that ran within all the Batman books. This was a must have book for me at a time when I wasn’t even collecting comic books. Plus, it has one of my favorite Gordon moment, which I wrote about before here.

One of the books that brought me back to collecting comic books was Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher series. This is all of the books. And while the story has a tendency to wander off at times, it’s a solid read, with one of the most satisfying endings in a comic book series.

I haven’t read the Death books, The High Cost of Living and The Time of Your Life, both by Neil Gaiman and Chris Bachalo, in a long time. I do remember loving these stories when they were published.

A book I loved when I first read it but have since fallen out of love with is the Daredevil story Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada. Quesada’s art is still great, and I regret that he’s not at the drawing table more. But Smith’s writing falls flat, with an inability to show us rather than tell. It’s not as bad as his Green Arrow work, where the dialogue balloons literally obstructed the art work, but it’s close. It’s a shame too, because I enjoy Smith’s stage presence and online personality.

Ellis returns with the Stormwatch run, Lightning Strikes, Force of Nature, A Finer World, and Change or Die, followed by his awesome run on The Authority with Relentless. Certainly a product of their times, but they continue to be a lot of fun.

My love for Morrison continues with his JLA work: Strength in Numbers, Justice for All, World War III, New World Order, Earth 2,and Rock of Ages. You can say a lot of things about Morrison, I know, but man, he knew how to write a great JLA story.

Earth X by Jim Krueger and Alex Ross was one of those things I used to be so excited about, but it’s fizzled since then. I’m not sure why. I need to give this a reread sometime.

More Morrison with The Mystery Play, New X-Men, and Marvel Boy. I have a soft spot for The Mystery Play. I know it’s pretentious and certainly not subtle, but there’s some real emotion at work here, and a large part of that is because of Jon J. Muth’s gorgeous work.

And THE writer who returned me to comic books full time:Brian Michael Bendis. Torso, Goldfish, Fire, and Jinx.  I seriously need to read these books again. I had a lot of love for Jinx, and Bendis’ work with Marc Andreyko on Torso is stunning. It was because of these books, with Bendis’ work on Sam and Twitch, that really taught me the importance of writing in comic books. Something I always knew, but just didn’t get apparently.

Frank Miller’s Sin City was such a big deal when it came out. Great work here by Miller.

Pretend for a moment that the movie never happened and give Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber’s Whiteout a read. A tight story with a real clever angle.

Man, I remember this one. A Death in the Family by Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo was such a big deal. I thought it was a good book, though I could have done with the UN part of the story. Aparo is another one of those artists I didn’t like as a kid, but now see him as being a real talent. He produced quality work month after month without so much as missing a deadline, and his work in this book was exceptional. Ah well, better late than never.

This is the book that introduced me to Frank Miller, though I didn’t know it at the time. Ronin still reads really well with a lot of cool ideas at work here. Still surprised we haven’t seen this one turned into a movie.

This was a collection from back in the day when collections like this weren’t normal. Origins of Marvel Comics was a favorite of mine. I love those old stories with Stan Lee’s writing touches and a pack of the best artists in the business.

I’ve already talked about Daredevil Born Again. And you can read it here.

Elektra Assassin was a real head scratcher when I was a kid, a lot of it having to do with Bill Sienkiewicz’s art. I was just too young to process what he was doing. Nowadays, it’s a lovely book with panels that explode off the page.

My first experience with Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean was on Black Orchid. This is a cool little road trip story with some cool takes on some old ideas. I really like how Batman is handled in this book.

Okay. Let me call it a day with this one.

Thanks so much for reading!

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